HIPAA, Telehealth, and Health Apps

Covered entities have long been aware of HIPAA requirements, but are you aware of the requirements as they pertain to telehealth, health apps and connected devices?

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As telehealth services are performed by covered entities, HIPAA rules govern.

However, health app developers aren’t usually covered entities under the HIPAA rules. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released a statement to offer guidance related to breaches as they pertain to health apps and connected devices.

The FTC stated in its statement (available HERE) that entities that aren’t covered by HIPAA still have accountability when consumers’ sensitive health information is compromised.

The FTC requires the companies who own various health apps and connected devices to provide notifications of breaches. The FTC’s breach notification rule is not new, but the statement was released to respond to the expansion of health apps.

Like under HIPAA, the FTC warned that a breach is not limited to a cybersecurity attack, but also includes unauthorized access.

To minimize the risk of breaches, the FTC recommends that health app developers:

  • Minimize data
  • Limit access and permissions
  • Keep authentication in mind
  • Implement security by design
  • and more.

If you are using telehealth for your patients, you need to make sure that you are following all HIPAA rules and regulations. We help our clients ensure that their telehealth services are in keeping with the HIPAA Security Rule.

If you have any telehealth questions or want to learn more about telehealth, make sure to tune into our webinar, Upcoming Changes to Telehealth Policies. We are partnering with The Physician Alliance on October 20, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. EST to bring you up to date information on telehealth. Register HERE.

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